Judge temporarily blocks release of some police, civil servant disciplinary records

By: 
Priscilla DeGregory and Vincent Barone

Unions representing city cops and other civil servants landed a court victory Wednesday when a judge issued a temporary restraining order blocking the release of certain disciplinary records under Albany’s repeal of the 50-a law.

The order from State Supreme Court Judge Carol Edmead bars the city from public releasing any disciplinary records of NYPD officers, firefighters and correction officers that have been not yet been substantiated.

Edmead issued the stay against the release of any unsubstantiated records while the case gets transferred from state to federal court.

The ruling comes the same day the de Blasio administration had planned to launch a massive online, public database of NYPD disciplinary reports.

It marks the latest in the battle for transparency around police misconduct that dates back to 2016, when the NYPD and Mayor de Blasio began shielding the outcomes of police misconduct cases while citing 50-a.

The state legislature repealed that law last month, spurred by the civil unrest over the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd, with de Blasio announcing shortly thereafter that the new database would be compiled.

The unions representing 60,000 officers argued in their lawsuit against the disclosures that unproven allegations can’t be included in an internet “data dump” because it will “absolutely destroy the reputation and privacy — and imperil the safety — of many of those firefighters and officers.”

They also claimed the release allegations that haven’t been proven or finalized would violate collective bargaining agreements, while the city has argued that the inclusion of such files would create fairness and a streamlined approach for all city workers.